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Ask Matt Asay About Ubuntu and Canonical 310

A week after the announcement that open source advocate and blogger Matt Asay is leaving Alfresco for Canonical, in the role of COO, Matt has agreed to answer your questions about his role at Canonical, his vision for the future of Ubuntu, or the prospects for open source as we begin to emerge from recession. Usual Slashdot interview rules apply. (Disclaimer: Matt is on the board of advisors for Slashdot's parent company, Geeknet.)
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Ask Matt Asay About Ubuntu and Canonical

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  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (> on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @05:31PM (#31160530) Journal
    Every so often I see an adoption story about so and so taking up some open source solution [] and sometimes I think "Wow, French government? Now it's really going to take off. This is it. It's time." And then I wait. And wait.

    Are these stories at all positive for the project? I mean, you would think with states and governments using Ubuntu or Red Hat that it would catch on like wildfire if the savings are there so why isn't that happening? I know Microsoft sends out a lot of Wormtongues to stick in the ears of important people, do you plan on targeting governments in a similar manner? Does/will Canonical work on making a presence in things like the EU Commissions where we've seen corporations collecting members in their pockets?
    • by HungryHobo ( 1314109 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @06:12PM (#31161058)

      I like linux, I like programming on a linux machine, I like learning on a linux machine but I can't really game on a linux machine and that's a big thing in the home PC market.

      What are the plans to induce game makers to port their games to linux?
      What moves are being made to try to encourage graphics chip companies to create good drivers for linux?

      • I think the plan is to wait for another couple of years until PC gaming has finished destroying itself with DRM and piracy. (Dons NOMEX suit.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Porting a game is an enormous undertaking. Writing a game to be cross-platform from the get-go by using openGL might be an option but video drivers aren't the only problem, Linux has big problems regarding consistent audio frameworks across all distributions. Games work well under Windows because Windows is inherently monolithic whereas Linux is inherently modular. The monolithic nature of the Windows API cuts costs by guaranteeing that a game will work on every Windows machine (excepting odd circumstances

        • by thsths ( 31372 )

          > Linux has big problems regarding consistent audio frameworks across all distributions.

          You can just say "Linux has big problems regarding audio". So many promised solutions (alsa, esound, jack, pulseaudio), and non of them works properly! Sometimes choice helps by creating alternatives (like postfix over sendmail), and sometimes it hinders by diluting resources - and the later certainly happened here.

      • What are the plans to induce game makers to port their games to linux?

        By whom? For what purpose? You're implicitly invoking The Mysterious Them (the planners), but actual people and/or organizations of people need to do the footwork. Things inhibiting game developers targeting Linux include:

        1. Too small of a market. The market must be sized so as to support the development and QA effort required for the port. For a long time, Mac games would be brought over by a third-party porting shop working with the original publisher of what was usually a Windows-targeted game. This
        • [snip]

          1. Market fragmentation due to "Linux" not actually being a single targetable platform for gaming. A game dev shop could perhaps target one or two specific releases of specific distros, but that fragments the market further. See the previous item.


          Why not jump-start LSB again? Maybe change it to be more Debian-friendly, etc.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      A lot of the time, they're hyped well beyond reality. Like how the Norwegian government was to use ODF. Yes, all public forms will be available in HTML, PDF or ODF but the many thousands of MS Office licences used internally did not change. Microsoft marketing would sometimes be proud to learn from the OSS community.

    • Every so often I see an adoption story about so and so taking up some open source solution and sometimes I think "Wow, French government? Now it's really going to take off. This is it. It's time." And then I wait. And wait.

      Linux arrived late to the party.

      The IBM Personal Computer [] hit the market 29 years ago.

      Commander Keen and Word For Windows 20 years ago.

      The "window of opportunity" for the alternative OS was closing no later than Win 3.1.

      If you want a consumer oriented OS with solid *NIX roots, you have O

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (> on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @05:36PM (#31160590) Journal
    Late last year, you heralded some moves by Shuttleworth [] and you said:

    This, I believe, is an opportunity for Canonical to tighten its focus. While Shuttleworth suggests that Silber's appointment "doesn't mark a change of direction," perhaps it should. With over 300 employees and products that span mobile, Netbooks and other personal computers, cloud computing, enterprise servers, and more, Canonical has its fingers in a lot of pots.

    As COO, what are you going to do to improve the products you highlighted above? I'm not looking for a soft answer like "I'm going to promote Ubuntu on netbooks" but more so an itemized list of measurable goals, with milestones, dates and areas of focus (for instance, power minded ARM distributions). Is there anything about their vision you intend to change or influence the most?

  • by aztracker1 ( 702135 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @05:38PM (#31160620) Homepage

    I'm curious as to what efforts will be made to keeping frameworks like Mono, Java and WINE current in existing releases. It seems that by the time a release happens these frameworks are already several versions behind. It would be nice to have an "edge" set of repositories that keep up with this in addition to backports that is.

    • by Korin43 ( 881732 )
      The frameworks aren't the only things behind. What about all of the people who think "Linux is broken" or "Linux doesn't support new hardware" because Ubuntu ships with old versions of ALSA and the kernel (so old video drivers)?
      • by WarJolt ( 990309 )

        Have you ever used the unstable branch?
        I was playing around with some of the new KMS ati support, but Lucid still has way more problems them Karmic. I like to torture myself with the unstable branch(I may need help). I think old and tested is less "broken" than new and unstable.

        The release cycle of Ubuntu is comparable to Windows. The current stable kernel is from September 2009. ALSA is from May 2009. If you want updated versions you can suffer with me using the unstable branch and have a few hickups that

    • Especially on LTS releases. For most non-geeks, a major upgrade every 6 months is too much. Going from LTS to LTS is more realistic. Right now, 8.04 is the current LTS and installing new software (e.g. gtkpod, songbird) is very difficult because it too often requires upgrades of major libraries. For an OS only 2 years old, that's not good.

      Ubuntu's (and other Linux distros) heavy use of dynamic libraries are a major contributor to this problem. It would be great if Ubuntu could provide updates to librar

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (> on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @05:42PM (#31160666) Journal
    You used to write a lot about desktop Linux distributions [] but now that you're COO of Canonical, the revenue comes most from enterprise support. Do you plan on trying to change that or maintain any value in pleasing the at home Ubuntu user? Your blog post talks about your kids achieving basic tasks with Ubuntu, will you still keep them in mind despite the fact your new employer doesn't see a dime from them? Any plans to make it more user friendly or make it more mainstream and less server room []?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Now that Mark Shuttleworth has stepped aside, how long until the Microsoft coyotes come in and either implant a new CEO or insert stealth ex-employees into the fold to subvert Ubuntu or suddenly announce a new pact with Microsoft and Novell? How long can we expect Ubuntu to continue free of Redmond's grasp? Many won't speak of this, but you know the feelings are there. Just you wait, the "let's make a deal" Microsoft fairies will swarm in and around Ubuntu eventually.

    : We promise we won't sue you today for

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (> on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @05:48PM (#31160738) Journal
    As over watch of operations management, what kind of performance measurements are you going to make to decide which direction Ubuntu development is heading? Number of bugs? Just cash flow? Number of supported packages?

    Simply put: what are you going to improve Canonical's operations and how are you plan on measuring it to prove you're making a difference?
  • Ubuntu and KDE (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew@ g m a i l . com> on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @05:51PM (#31160790) Homepage Journal

    Will Ubuntu continue to treat KDE as a second-class citizen?

    I loathe Gnome personally but don't begrude people the freedom of choice. However, with Ubuntu becoming almost synonymous with Linux, do they have a responsibility to try and put out a quality KDE desktop along with a quality Gnome desktop?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @06:10PM (#31161042)

      More importantly, we see GNOME falling further and further behind KDE. We need to know exactly when Matt will be pushing for GNOME to be deprecated in favor of KDE (or even XFCE). He really doesn't have a choice; GNOME needs to go, and it needs to go very soon.

      Even if it wasn't as great as everyone was expecting, at least KDE managed to get their 4.0 release out the door quickly, and have been making great improvements on it since then. We see them innovating, and creating a desktop environment that keeps getting better and better. Their underlying toolkit, Qt, keeps improving rapidly thanks to the efforts of Nokia and others.

      GNOME, on the other hand, has been spinning its wheels for years. It has no real leadership, and we aren't seeing any innovation out of them. GTK+ is basically in maintenance mode.

      We're seeing the GNOME community fragmenting, and quite badly. Some people still advocate using C, others are saying that Mono is the way to go. And yet others are pushing for Vala. Frankly, the internal strife will tear the GNOME project apart, much like happened to XFree86. I, for one, sure hope that Ubuntu has moved away from GNOME far before then.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Enderandrew ( 866215 )

        I do think that Qt is a better framework to build upon, but I think there is room for the Gnome desktop.

        They have different goals and philosophies. I think KDE 4.4 right now is a far more advanced desktop than Gnome 2.x, but the work on Gnome 3 and Gnome Shell shows that they do have an eye towards the future.

        However, given that even many diehard GTK developers seem to have serious issues with GTK, and there is some dissent over how to proceed with GTK 3 in the future, why not at least consider a future Gno

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Kjella ( 173770 )

          However, given that even many diehard GTK developers seem to have serious issues with GTK, and there is some dissent over how to proceed with GTK 3 in the future, why not at least consider a future Gnome built upon Qt?

          The problem is C vs C++. It pretty effectively rules out any real sharing of code bases and means that to write Gnome/Qt, you are pretty much starting from scratch. I think KDE just tried that and it was a long and nasty road. I don't think that many enough would embrace Qt/C++ to see it through and it'd never work quite the same, the danger is that you'd only get a bleak shadow of what Gnome should be and get all kinds of flamewars going.


      • I (honestly) agree with most things you're saying and I think Ubuntu should switch to KDE once they've gotten around to creating a nice UI with all that innovation and technology. So around version 5, I guess. Cause right now, with the combination of vanilla Gnome, (Gnome-)Do and Compiz I have never been happier with a windowing environment. It looks good and gets the fuck out of my way most of the time. OTOH in the office we use KDE4 and it looks horrible and plays much the same. Looking at my phone, one o

      • More importantly, we see GNOME falling further and further behind KDE.

        I think it depends on your goals. I'm not surprised when a programmer says they like KDE because it's very flexible, but I think if I were setting up Linux for my mom, I'd use Gnome. It's simpler, and I think most people would find the UI conventions to be more clear. Maybe it's just me, but when I use KDE, I tend to feel like they're giving me 50 options that I don't care about and I can't find the 1 option I do care about. If I find it confusing *at all* then there'd be no hope for my parents.


    • Re:Ubuntu and KDE (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @06:16PM (#31161122) Homepage

      I loathe Gnome personally but don't begrude people the freedom of choice. However, with Ubuntu becoming almost synonymous with Linux, do they have a responsibility to try and put out a quality KDE desktop along with a quality Gnome desktop?

      Yep. Coming at this from a slightly different angle, I use fluxbox on ubuntu rather than gnome. One of the big problems in karmic is that I'm being affected by multiple new regressions that seem to arise from the lack of any serious testing on any desktop environment other than gnome. Two examples: (1) Previously, sound used to work fine for me in fluxbox. Now, sound works sometimes in Gnome, never in fluxbox. (2) This [] bug appears to arise because they decided to implement a new signal from the Gnome desktop to let xsplash know when it was done starting up, but nobody appears to have bothered to check what would happen in desktop environments other than Gnome, which don't implement the signal.

      I understand that Gnome is the primary desktop focus of the standard version of ubuntu. But is is really that much to ask that someone at least start up the other desktop environments once to see if they work? Both of the problems above were evident to me within five minutes of upgrading from jaunty to karmic.

      • I have always said part of the appeal of Ubuntu is that they have so many packages.

        I also think that is a mark against Ubuntu because I don't think they have the staff to properly test all those packages, hence the buggy releases.

        If you have projects like Xubuntu, Kubuntu, and the new Lubuntu, you need to either properly support them, or drop them.

  • Quality Control (Score:5, Interesting)

    by davidm2005 ( 1453017 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @05:51PM (#31160792)
    I have been using Ubuntu as a software developer for the past several years. I have been extremely disappointed with the most recent release of Ubuntu, 9.10, as it has been extremely buggy and seems like a step backwards to me. The conclusion of this review,2484-13.html [] also expresses a lot of my thoughts about Ubuntu 9.10. I had so many problems in using 9.10, that did NOT exist in 9.04, that I switched one of the two computers I use at work to Windows 7, for stability (yes, these are crazy days). Do you have any plans to increase quality control in Ubuntu, even if it comes at the cost of delaying the every six month release schedule?
    • Quality control in Ubuntu seems like a huge problem. Every release fixes something broken and breaks something that was working. Wifi used to be broken and now it works. Power management used to work and now it's broken. It's a huge waste of time and it makes it hard to recommend Ubuntu.

      • I've been using Ubuntu exclusively on my home desktop for a few years now; I've never used another distro for more than a couple of days. So -- are Fedora and OpenSUSE seriously different from Ubuntu in fixing some stuff while breaking other stuff?

        For instance, I've also had power management issues in various releases (at the moment it's mostly working), and I've always attributed it to the fact that, well, suspend and hibernate remain a bit flaky on Linux, mostly due to problematic devices/drivers. I assum

    • Re:Quality Control (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @06:09PM (#31161028) Homepage

      This is an excellent question. I've been using ubuntu since edgy eft, and I'm really dismayed by the quality of jaunty and (especially) karmic. The biggest issue is that sound, which worked for me in edgy through intrepid, started working poorly in jaunty, and is now essentially completely broken for me in karmic. I've spent a lot of time surfing, collecting information, trying to write useful and well documented bug reports, etc. But the upshot is that there have been major, major regressions in sound for me.

      Another regression that affected me after the upgrade to karmic was this one []. I noticed the problem, and because it was causing me significant inconvenience I dug around in the source code and found it. As described in the bug report, there is a function called temporary_hack_for_initial_fade(). So obviously someone put a kludge in and then the kludge wasn't fixed in time for the release of karmic, so they released it anyway. This doesn't seem to speak well for the quality assurance procedures that go into a release of ubuntu.

  • Revenue (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew@ g m a i l . com> on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @05:53PM (#31160820) Homepage Journal

    Shuttleworth is still funding Canonical. At some point however, this needs to turn into a protibable vendure to endure. How does Canonical create lasting revenue streams, and will those decisions come at the cost of usability and freedom in the distro, such as the recent decision to use Yahoo search (powered by Bing) as the default)?

    • at the cost of usability and freedom in the distro, such as the recent decision to use Yahoo search (powered by Bing) as the default)?

      I was with you somewhat on usability - though bing is actually pretty usable IMO - but how is using Yahoo or Bing (or any other search) instead of Google a "freedom" issue? Can't you change it?

      • Of course you can change it. And after you change it back to Google (or whatever), which takes all of one second, it ought to remain the default even after an upgrade. Some people just get really aggravated arguing that since most people use Google now, most people would prefer to use Google in the future, and thus the change to another search engine is not in most people's immediate best interest. Which is true, and if it weren't about such a triviality, I might agree with them.

  • Smarthphones (Score:3, Interesting)

    by diegocg ( 1680514 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @05:54PM (#31160834)

    Smartphones have become another computing device. There is Android, and there is MeeGoo. Ubuntu has missed the oportunity of creating a phone version of Ubuntu like Apple did with iPhone OS....what is Canonical going to do in this area? Create a phone version of Ubuntu and hope that some vendor chooses it? Support Android? Or Meego?

  • Migration (Score:2, Informative)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 )

    In the 21st century, why is it that we still don't have a simple, user-friendly tool to help both home and enterprise users to migrate their existing documents and settings while performing a Linux install?

  • by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew@ g m a i l . com> on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @05:57PM (#31160870) Homepage Journal

    You often praise proprietary, closed-source products on your blog (especially products from Apple and IBM). What is your stance on mixing proprietary and open products?

  • Even as Ubuntu soars in popularity, we see forks of Ubuntu (such as Mint) pop up. Do you feel that distro fragmentation detracts from acceptance and adoption?

    • I believe that Canonical is probably the most popular Linux distro that still has as it's primary goal helping make the world a better place. RedHat and Suse both make it difficult to fork their distros, by requiring that you remove their trademarks everywhere, and in general, they are unfriendly to forks. Ubuntu on the other hand, has been much friendlier in this regard, and there are several useful forks that make life better for their target users.

      For example, I'm working with Tony Sales on a Vinux ISO

  • Business apps? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DogDude ( 805747 )
    Does Ubuntu have any plans for trying to recruit business software makers to make Linux versions? Before Ubuntu can be useful to me, at the very least, there needs to be at least ONE functional financial package (ala: Quickbooks, Simply, etc.), for example.
  • The last few Ubuntu releases have been plagued with bugs on release. Do you support steady releases every six months, and what can Ubuntu to do improve from a quality perspective?

  • KDE & LXDE (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MonsterTrimble ( 1205334 ) <> on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @06:12PM (#31161056)

    I have a few questions as a loyal *buntu user:

    1) Do you feel Kubuntu's 'Operation Timelord' is a step in the right direction for the distribution? If so, why do you feel it was allowed to slip far enough to warrant a complete overhaul?
    2) Do you see Kubuntu & Xubuntu becoming purely community-supported distros with Canonical focusing solely on Ubuntu desktop & server?
    3) With Xubuntu's memory & CPU requirements being on par with Ubuntu's and Mark Shuttleworth's invite 'to become a self-maintained project in the Ubuntu community' (according to, does this signal an end to Xubuntu as a whole or at the very least the 'lightweight' *buntu distribution?

  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @06:15PM (#31161108) Homepage

    Sorry, I know my viewpoint is going to anger and annoy some people, but I've been thinking about the relative lack of success of Linux on the desktop lately. By "relative lack of success" I don't mean to bash the quality of Linux, but only that it doesn't seem to be very widely used in spite of being pretty good for a lot of purposes. So first, my obvious question would be, to what do you attribute the relative lack of success, and what plans do you have, if any, to do something about it.

    To be a little more specific (and to answer my own question a little bit) it seems to me that a fair amount of the problem isn't the OS itself, but the associate applications. For example, lots of people have complained about GIMP for reasons ranging from lack of specific functionality to an unconventional UI, and even to the awkward connotations of the name "GIMP". Even having personally gotten some graphic designers to try the GIMP, I have yet to know any professional designers who find it adequate. I'd like to use Linux, but don't find I can come close replicating an equivalent workflow to what I have available using tools like Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, and Sound Forge. (those are the applications I'm personally stuck with, though I'm sure other people have other applications on their personal lists.)

    Sorry if this is a vague or offensive question, but I'd really like to know, is there a plan to attack those kinds of issues at any point? I feel like Ubuntu (and other Linux distros) have done a pretty good job in polishing the installation procedures and the "look and feel" aspect of things, but does there come a time when you say, "We need a serious Adobe CS competitor for our OS to be competitive on the desktop, so let's make that happen"? If so, what happens then?

    Sorry, I know people are going to tell me that I should just use the GIMP and if it doesn't do what I need, I should rewrite it. Sorry, I don't have the programming skills and and I don't have the money to single-handedly fund development of all the applications that I'd need to switch to Linux. I'd be willing to buy them once they were developed, or even make modest contributions to a project that I thought would actually deliver on what I needed, but I'm not a software developer.

    Really, honestly, I'm not trying to be offensive to FOSS developers. I'm just speaking as someone who, for both practical and ideological reasons, would love to switch away from using Windows, but I keep finding that I can't. I use Debian and Ubuntu when I can, and have even contributed money to FOSS projects. So ultimately my question is, does Ubuntu have as one of its goals to enable someone like me to finally make the switch to Linux? If so, what's the plan? What can I do to help?

    • by selven ( 1556643 ) is getting quite good for most purposes lately, and that seems to be where the attention is focused. As for advanced image/sound/video/CAD editing applications, with a few partial exceptions here and there (eg. Blender), Wine seems to be the way to go. Wine is also moving forward pretty fast with Google pushing it as the means through which they release Linux versions of all their desktop software.

    • To be a little more specific (and to answer my own question a little bit) it seems to me that a fair amount of the problem isn't the OS itself, but the associate applications.

      Clearly the larger the install base for an OS, the more applications are likely to be developed for it, but additionally the ease of developing, marketing, and getting those applications to the end user plays a big role. I know the current Canonical roadmap includes an App Store built into the package manager, to facilitate developers marketing and delivering applications to end users, similar to what Apple has done with the iPhone App Store. Ubuntu can also capitalize upon nonproifit collaborative developm

      • I know the current Canonical roadmap includes an App Store built into the package manager

        Thanks for this bit of information. I use Ubuntu, but I'm largely ignorant about stuff like this.

        This would mean either embracing WINE in a big way...

        If they do that, they should be sure to develop WINE to the point of being transparent. If you lose features, experience bugs, have to figure out work-arounds, and have to hunt for files inside of foreign directory structures, then it's not going to be a good solution. Ideally, you even want applications to use native UI conventions. For cross-platform development done right, I think the best examples I'm aw

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      So ultimately my question is, does Ubuntu have as one of its goals to enable someone like me to finally make the switch to Linux?

      Yes []. The trouble is, if you frame it that way then Linux has to dislodge every incumbent market dominating piece of software which is well beyond the capability of Shuttleworth. I think it's actually beyond the capability of the whole open source community. Even things like Firefox which is one of the grand champions of open source only got 25% market share, the old ways sit hard.

      Microsoft won't budge but the other companies, they're just looking for a business case and you'll have Adobe CS - the real thin

      • There's many, many people that need only basic software, but they're also the kind of user you can't require a degree in CS to administrate their box - those groups are almost mutually exclusive.

        Ubuntu really isn't hard to set up or keep running. I would say that it's no harder to Install than Windows, and in many cases you have a greater likelihood that all of your hardware will be identified without need of additional drivers. At least that's been my experience, which is why I suggest that the problem now is less about the OS and more about the applications.

        I've thought for some time that the biggest threat to Microsoft would be if Adobe released their own Linux distribution which their Creati

  • Has Ubuntu Server considered directly challenging Red Hat through competitive marketing? Is RHEL seen as a direct competitor with Ubuntu? I know Ubuntu Server has put a lot of work into being a cloud computing platform; has any extensive thought gone into more explicitly targeting traditional Linux server/RHEL deployments as they are seen now (Java application server stack, web stack, etc.?)

    And a suggestion: With the upcoming LTS release, please hire documenters, pay volunteers for quality documenting work,

    • Just to make it clear, there is a question in that first paragraph. I'm just hoping Matt/Canonical/Ubuntu Server takes note of the comment I made below it.

  • Debian (Score:5, Funny)

    by syousef ( 465911 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @06:22PM (#31161200) Journal

    Everyone knows Ubuntu is an ancient African word for "I can't configure Debian". How come you can't configure Debian but were able to create a whole other distro?

  • We're seeing more and more vendors trying to target their OS not only to specific devices, but to very specific components (vid cards, resolutions, network cards...), following in Apple's footsteps. What percentage of dev time does Canonical spend on driver and config support ? Do you think it makes sense for the 'official' distros to alleviate the burden at the cost of some users no longer getting official support ?

  • Freedom, second? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheModelEskimo ( 968202 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @06:30PM (#31161322)
    Matt, you were intensely criticized by members of the Free Software community for your critical stance facing "vague concepts" like software freedom and "no vendor lock-in." Reading your blog, it seems to me like you are still a fan of focusing on "high quality software at a compelling price" rather than these other concepts. How will this position affect your work with Canonical and more specifically, its relationship with freedom-first software advocates?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Second. I have to second that this question be asked. Matt seems to want to stay away from the ethical side of free software and just focus on the new hotness factor of "open source". It's kind of funny because I would hear about his posts since he generally included the exact phrase "free software" but when I would read his posts, there was nothing behind it so it seemed like keyword stuffing.

      I'm not all that surprised but I am saddened that Canonical who claims to have a "free operating system for your
      • Saddened is a good word for it. I thought it was sort of awkwardly incongruent when Canonical rolled out Ubuntu One. They could have made their entry so much more unique by positioning it with respect to some of the core values that free software rides on. That's the sort of creativity they'll need in order to compete with the likes of Dropbox, unless they intend to lock down the entire Ubuntu platform at some point.

        I guess we haven't learned our collective lesson about software freedom when there's a Clo
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          You might be interested in my podcast in the latest ep of which we talk about a fifth freedom []...freedom of data access and user mobility(i.e. not to be locked in to a network/Cloud service). I've been meaning to write something more on this.
  • by abhikhurana ( 325468 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @06:41PM (#31161466)

    What are Canonical's plans for mobile platforms? With Maemo, another Debian based distro, now available for smartphones, would Canonical also get involved with either that or maybe develop a completely new Distro?

    With the desktop Linux market being extremely small and server markets being dominated by Red Hat and Novell, mobiles probably are the sweet spot for Canonical, with its strong focus on usability. Additionally, the lack of standardisation means that users are more willing to experiement with interfaces. So what is the relative priority of Mobile, Netbook, Desktop and Server platform in Canonical's roadmap?

  • What does a COO do? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @06:42PM (#31161474)

    What exactly does a COO do, at an organization like Canonical? I don't mean vague organizational goals, like make us wealthy and cool, but specifics.

    I do not mean rephrase the wikipedia entry for COO, but how would you APPLY the wikipedia entry for COO at Canonical? []

  • Datclaimer (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    >(Disclaimer: Matt is on the board of advisors for Slashdot's parent company, Geeknet.)
    Revealing the interests of parties involved is good journalism. But unless the author feels this means they consequently have no obligation to objectivity or accuracy, it isn't a disclaimer - it's a disclosure.

  • What will make Ubuntu different or better then any other well maintained Linux distribution? How can Linux distribution truly compete by offering minor modifications of the same basic set of software?
  • Alfresco takes what is essentially an unstable snapshot of the publicly available and GPL'd Community Edition, branches it into a private source repository, stabilizes that private codebase, and makes stable point releases of the commercially licensed Enterprise Edition from that. Sure, fixes from Enterprise Edition are eventually rolled back into the unstable Community Edition trunk, but there is never a stable point release made for the GPL licensed Community Edition. So, if our company wants open sourc

  • Hello,

    I have a question about the results of asking a question. I administer a few Ubuntu VMs and I want to simply turn off screen blanking (please note I didn't say anything about running X). How does one simply turn off screen blanking with regards to the standard text login window? Note that setenv and friends aren't the answer because I want screen blanking off always, not just when someone is logged in.

    But this isn't about that question specifically. While I still want the question to be answered, what

  • Seriously, what were you guys thinking? The Great Pumpkin only comes once a year.

    Everyone made fun of XP and the Fisher-Price theme ... but Ubuntu is worse. It looks like it was thrown together by a bunch of Hallowe'enies.

    "Oh, but it's earth colors, like autumn!" Sure, pick the time of year when everything DIES! That sends a great subliminal "use-me-be-happy" message.

    Fall colors - remind people that Old Man Winter is right around the corner, it's only going to get worse for the rest of the year, slush and ice and heating bills and salt stains on your boots and coat and clothes and the dogs dragging dirt in from the freshly sanded sidewalks all over the comforter and ice storms and dead cats frozen in snowbanks flying through the air as the municipal snowblower sucks them up and ... you get the picture.

    You want companies to take you seriously, you don't have your reps wear a bow tie so they don't look like Bozo the Clown, and you don't make your prime product offering look like the artwork from a pumpkin pie box.

    If you have to do a pie-themed color scheme, order a pizza pie and use that for inspiration. Everyone likes pizza. Or do apple pie - American Pie! Even the Band Campers can relate to that! Or cherry pie. There are so many nerds in basements who dream of cherry ...

    It's not just ugly - it's fugly-ugly. Even in Soviet Russia.

    It is ugly on the screen. It's so ugly it's obscene.
    It is ugly every day. It is ugly like old whey.
    It is ugly on a boat. It is ugly with a goat.
    It is ugly like brown turd. It is ugly as a nerd.
    It is ugly, don't you see? It is ugly like green pee.
    It is ugly, all the way. It is ugly, Matt Assay!
    I will not use it on a boat. I will not use it with a goat.
    I will not use it at the fair. I will not use it in my hair.
    I will leave it with the nerds. They like it colored like brown turds.
    I will leave it, Matt Assay, It makes my eyeballs bleed all day.

    In summary, you only get one chance to make a good first impression, and that color scheme works great - for your competitors.

  • by Elektroschock ( 659467 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @06:11AM (#31166926)

    Linux users are used to a situation where a kernel or distribution or software module update kills their basic hardware support, like sound, graphics etc.

    What role do you see for automated testing environments and hardware labs to ensure higher quality?


    Why are Ubuntu's KDE packages so bad? Why aren't beta versions debug enabled by default?

Where it is a duty to worship the sun it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat. -- Christopher Morley